Editorial: Negative Attitude Towards Prisoners Hurts Rehabilitation Efforts
By the Editorial Board of The Daily Campus
Recently, Eric Bolling of “The Five,” a Fox News program, was under well-deserved attack by the illustrious Stephen Colbert for the former’s comments regarding the suicide of Ariel Castro, convicted for 937 criminal charges among which included rape, kidnapping, and aggravated murder. While this article isn’t quite a defense of Castro, it is an attack on Bolling’s statements which posited that taxpayers saved $780,000 by his suicide. Bolling’s argument here is insensitive, even when one considers the magnitude of Castro’s crimes, and is indicative of the negative attitude towards criminals and their opportunity for reform. America wholly believes once a criminal always a criminal, and this social stigma prevents them from re-entering society successfully.
With this in mind, it’s clear why recidivism, or the term to describe former felons re-entering prisons or re-arrested for similar previously committed crimes, is so high in this country and why rehabilitation programs struggle to take effect. When one in thirty-two Americans is on probation, parole or in prison and America has that largest population of criminals (you know, that popular statistic, 5 percent of the global population, 25 percent of its prisoners), one would think that the public attitude towards criminals would be more supportive. Instead, America has collectively decided to abandon these people with the idea that they are a lost cause and deserve the barest of dregs we can throw at them, leaving them to struggle both in and out of the prison system.